This website explores the facts, truths and myths about natural gas exploration and production using the slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing process in the Barnett, Haynesville and Eagle Ford Shales of Texas, as well as other shale formations nationwide. Our purpose is to present the best available information about natural gas exploration and production to help civic leaders and citizens make informed decisions about how to proceed with this heavy industrial process in their communities.
Natural Gas Production Causes Property Tax Reductions
Arlington, Texas resident Kim Feil saw her property taxes reduced by 31% after she protested her latest property valuation on the basis that natural gas wells and compressor stations nearby had devalued her property substantially because of air pollution, noise, truck traffic and threats to health and safety. Ironically, gas production facilities nearby also received tax appraisals that were lower than in previous years because their own activities reduced the market value of their properties. This is a new front in the war against urban drilling that every property owner should pursue. Read the full story HERE.
New Gas Drilling Ordinance
Passes City Council
On a 9-6 vote the Dallas City Council passed a new Gas Drilling Ordinance on Wednesday, December 11, just in time for Christmas, and showed its citizens that sometimes they really do listen to us and make decisions that put our interests ahead of for-profit corporations. Led by Scott Griggs, Sandy Greyson, Philip Kingston, Carolyn Davis, Monica Alonzo and Adam Medrano, our Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Council Members Jennifer Gates and Dwaine caraway decided that gas drilling really is not the best idea for a densely populated urban area in approving an ordinance that includes a setback requirement of at least 1,500 feet from the nearest edge of a padsite to the nearest edge of a protected use property line. They also banned injection wells in Dallas and limited compressor stations to Industrial Manufacturing districts only. They also approved a requirement for 100% chemical disclosure and the use of discrete tagging additives to track fluid migration in groundwater, and they mandated baseline testing for water, air and soil to establish a standard to determine when pollution occurs.
To be sure, the ordinance has some weak points that need to be tightened up, but on the whole it is the strongest gas drilling ordinance in the nation, and it will afford Dallas citizens and our adjacent neighbors far more protection for health and safety, property values, quality of life and our environment than our neighbors to the west, north and south currently have.
News of the new ordinance reverberated around the world within minutes setting off a firestorm of protests from those who favor and promote natural gas exploration and production in populated cities.
We thank the Dallas City Council and former Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who was the first to sound an alarm on this issue, for standing up to protect citizens as their first priority. It is, indeed, a very Merry Christmas present to those who cherish clean water, clean air and clean soil. And, we would be remiss if we failed to thank our City Plan Commissioners for recommending such a strong ordinance to the City Council. This was leadership that our citizens and our city deserve.
For some time now the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), which includes KERA TV and Radio in Dallas, has been accepting funding from the American Natural Gas Association (ANGA) in return for running pro-gas drilling ads and commentary while offering scant to zero opposition opinion about the health and safety of natural gas exploration and production. PBS stations are constantly running ads extolling the virtues and safety of natural gas, which we know to be false in fact and by example. It is time we let PBS stations know of our opposition to their ANGA sellout by boycotting PBS programming and donations. We demand that PBS stop taking money from ANGA or other natural gas producers and begin to offer objective commentary that is truthful about the hazards of natural gas rather than promoting false claims of its safety and benefits.
The City of Fort Worth has joined the City of Arlington, Trinity Valley School and Tarrant County landowners, including Ed Bass, in suing Chesapeake Energy and its partner Total E&P (France) for improperly failing to pay royalties on natural gas production. The lawsuits allege that Chesapeake improperly deducted costs of production services and made sham sales with below market value prices on natural gas to its own affiliates in actions that denied royalties to mineral owners. Read more HERE.
Hundreds of Dallas and area residents were a part of the effort to limit gas drilling in Dallas and get a new ordinance that protects people and property as the first priority of our city. Many of those citizens who played a very active role in accomplishing this feat are member of FracDallas, and deserve recognition for their time, effort and financial support. Every person who stood with us was important, but a few were truly exceptional for their personal sacrifices that got us to where we are today, and we want to recognize them for their contributions:
Marc McCord, Director
Others making a significant contribution without which this new ordinance never would have passed include:
Raymond Crawford (DARRD)
Sharon Wilson (Earthworks)
Molly Rooke (Sierra Club)
Rita Beving (Sierra Club)
David Griggs (Sierra Club)
Deborah Rogers (Energy Policy Forum)
Zac Trahan (TX Campaign for the Environment)
Jeff Jacoby(TX Campaign for the Environment)
Jim Schermbeck (Downwinders at Risk)
Cherelle Blazer (Downwinders at Risk)
Gary Stuard (Dallas MoveOn)
Susybelle Gosslee (League of Women Voters)
Claudia Meyer (Dallas Residents at Risk)
Ed Meyer (Dallas Residents at Risk)
and hundreds more.
In The News:
Dallas Morning News
New York Times
Russia Today (English)
A new study correlates a series of small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas between 2006 and 2011 with the underground injection of large volumes of gas, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) - a finding that is relevant to the process of capturing and storing CO2 underground. Read the full story HERE.
Gasland 2 and Josh Fox came to Texas for three screenings of the documentary film about hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas. The screening at the Texas Theatre in Dallas on Friday, September 27, was a sell-out with nearly 650 people in attendance. The Fort Worth screening on Saturday, September 28, had a crowd of over 400 people. Both were attended by audiences that was attentive and engaging, asking pertinent questions and showing signs of greater citizen participation than the phenomenal levels we have already experienced in our area. It was great to see Josh Fox again, and he pledged to return here and assist us in any way possible as we move forward in limiting where drilling can be done in our densely populated cities.
Gasland, Part II, is still showing on HBO, so if you were unable to attend the screening in person, then it is still available on HBO through the end of the year. Be sure to share it with your family, friends and neighbors because only an engaged citizenry can protect our communities from the ravages of the oil and gas industry in its quest for higher corporate profits and shareholder equity without regard for public health and safety, property values or the environment.
Range Resources filed lawsuits against homeowner Steve Lipsky and Texas Environmental activist Sharon Wilson claiming both lied and injured Range's name when they reported natural gas leaking in the Lipsky family water well at their home in Parker County, Texas. Now, a story by WFAA-TV reporter Brett Shipp confirms what Lipsky and Wilson said, and provides proof that Range knew about the problem, as did the Railroad Commission of Texas, both of which hid the truth from the general public in defending Range Resources. Below is the WFAA video of the latest installment of this story:
Ample Oil, No Water
Texas has been in severe drought conditions for over three years, but what has occurred as a result of oil and gas exploration using high volume slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing has compounded the problem immensely. Now, Texas towns are running out of drinking water and TCEQ projects that 30 towns will run out of water by year's end. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry continues to use and permanently destroy millions of gallons of our irreplacable, precious water resources with every frac job.
Suzanne Goldenberg has written an expose in The Guardian about this issue and how it is impacting lives and businesses all over Texas right now - and how it will impact us even more in the near future. Go to The Guardian to read the story of what happens to people when they start running out of drinking water.
For a long time we have known about blowouts and other well control problems occurring in the Barnett Shale and elsewhere around the nation, but few have known about specific cases facts about those incidents because that information is carefully shielded from public disclosure ... unless one knows where to look. The web site of the Railroad Commission of Texas lists such accidents, and the information is available HERE.
Everyone has heard about all the money to be made in natural gas exploration and production. Gas companies have been touting their success and potential windfall profits from their operations for over a decade, pitching their claims to potential investors and the general public upon whose support they rely to get drilling permits in populated areas. The promise of becoming the next "Jed Clampett" has had a lot of people defending an industry based upon expectations that shale gas would "free us from foreign energy imports", "give us plenty of cheap, domestically produced energy" that would last 100, 200 or even 300 years and that "natural gas is cleaner than burning coal."
All these claims have been made for a single purpose - to make money for the owners and shareholders of gas companies. But, the claims have not all been true and the results are far less than projected.
Peter Gorman has written an article about the Shale Game that bears reading and thinking about as gas prices hover at aroud one third of the production cost to get the stuff out of the ground. You can read his article HERE.
Overturns Act 13
Today is a day of celebration in Pennsylvania as the Supreme Court overturned the dispicable Act 13 that stripped away individual rights and gave gas producers carte blanche to harm people and property with impunity. Quoting from PA State Representative Jesse White's website, "State Rep. Jesse White, D-Washington/Allegheny/Beaver, released the following statement on today’s landmark ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court regarding Act 13, which upholds and expands the Commonwealth Court’s July 2012 decision to strike down sections of the Pennsylvania gas drilling law taking away local zoning rights as unconstitutional.
In making its ruling, the Supreme Court relied upon Article 1, Sec. 27 of the PA Constitution which guarantees the right of clean air and water for Pennsylvanians, as well as the violation of substantive due process rights stemming from various provisions of Act 13, including the provision superseding local zoning ordinances. The Court also ordered Commonwealth Court to revisit several arguments previously thrown out, including the controversial "physician gag order." The local impact fee portion of Act 13 remains unaffected by today’s decision.
Citizens in the Colorado towns of Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette and Broomfield, in spite of being outspent 40 to 1 by the oil and gas industry, voted to ban or place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. The election results are a huge defeat for Governor Hickenlooper, The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the oil and gas industry. Broomfield's victory is by only 13 votes, and a recount is being tallied, but these are significant setbacks to an industry that is accustomed to having its way at the expense of ordinary citizens and the environment. Read the whole story HERE.
Since records began in 1776, the people of Youngstown, Ohio had never experienced an earthquake. However, from January 2011, 109 tremors were recorded and new research in Geophysical Research-Solid Earth reveals how this may be the result of shale fracking. Read the full story HERE.
Waste Treatment Corporation, a Pennsylvania water treatment company, has been illegally discharging radioactive oil and gas wastewater since at least 2003, and continues to discharge such wastewater without authorization under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Streams Law, according to the notice of intent to sue delivered by Clean Water Action to the company.
Many pollutants associated with oil and gas drilling - including chlorides, bromides, strontium and magnesium - were discovered immediately downstream of the plant’s discharge pipe in Warren, PA, state regulators discovered in January. Upstream of the plant, those same contaminants were found at levels one percent or less than those downstream, or were not present at all. State officials also discovered that the sediments immediately downstream from the plant were tainted with high levels of radium-226, radium-228 and uranium. Those particular radioactive elements are known to be found at especially levels in wastewater from Marcellus shale gas drilling and fracking, and state regulators have warned that the radioactive materials would tend to accumulate in river sediment downstream from plants accepting Marcellus waste.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data on the number of pipeline accidents, deaths, injuries and property damage since 1986, shows numbers that are astounding. In nearly 8,000 pipeline accidents 512 people have been killed, another 2,360 have been injured and property damage has exceeded $6.158 Billion. These are the added costs of oil and gas production that are borne by the general public so that oil and gas companies can make money.
For a graphic representation of these accidents see the video below. You will notice that a larger percent of total accidents have occurred in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kansas than in the rest of the nation. In Texas alone, there were 1,712 pipeline accidents (natural gas 491 / oil 1,221) resulting in 81 deaths, 371 injuries and more than $583 Million in property damage, most involving Kinder or Atmos.
The 2011 earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma, which registered 5.7 on the Richter Sale, was caused by deep injection of wastewater from natural gas exploration and production. The temblor was felt 800 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It goes down in history as the biggest earthquake ever felt in Oklahoma, resulting in destruction of 14 homes, injuries to two people and buckling of a federal highway. The injection well that caused the earthquake is located near the Wilzetta Fault, and it is still in operation today.
While studies by the US Geologial Survey and the National Academy of Sciences attribute injection well activities with earthquakes, including this one, the Oklahoma Geological Survey has yet to issue an official account of the sequence. In a statement responding to the paper appearing in the journal "Geology" about this earthquake, Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland said the study showed the earthquake sequence could have been triggered by the injections. But, he said, "it is still the opinion of those at the Oklahoma Geological Survey that these earthquakes could be naturally occurring. There remain many open questions, and more scientific investigations are underway on this sequence of earthquakes and many others within the state of Oklahoma."
Click HERE for the full story.
For a more comprehensive report on injection well induced earthquakes and industry efforts to suppress scientific evidence linking them please visit Mother Jones .
Drill, Baby, Drill
The Post Carbon Institute has just released a comprehensive report discussing the economics of fossil fuel exploration and production in the face of economic realities and global markets. The report, titled Drill, Baby, Drill, discusses the truth about pursuing a fossil fuel future rather than moving to develop alternatives that are sustainable and clean. At issue is the high cost of dwindling production and increased environmental damage to our planet.
TEDX Air Pollution Study Released
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) has released a study of the health effects of air pollution caused by natural gas exploration and drilling near residents in Colorado where TEDX is based. The peer-reviewed study substantiates what has long been known about the health damages caused by exposure to chemicals, even in extremely small doses, that adversely affect child development and IQ. Read the full study HERE.
on RT TV in Moscow, Russia
The Environment America Research & Policy Center report, Fracking by the Numbers, is the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking to date.
"The numbers don’t lie - fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment," said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America. "If this dirty drilling continues unchecked, these numbers will only get worse."
"At health clinics, we’re seeing nearby residents experiencing nausea, headaches and other symptoms linked to fracking pollution," said David Brown, a toxicologist who has reviewed health data from Pennsylvania. "With billions of gallons of toxic waste coming each year, we’re just seeing the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of health risks."
The report measured key indicators of fracking threats across the country, including:
Fracking also inflicts other damage not quantified in the report - ranging from contamination of residential wells to ruined roads to earthquakes at disposal sites. Rad the full story HERE.
On July 11, 2013, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted 51-18 in favor of endorsing a proposal to impose a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all shale gas drilling activities in the European Union (EU). Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) showed a healthy dose of suspicion about the empty promises of the shale gas industry about its ability to guarantee so-called "safe fracking", according to the story found HERE.
FracDallas was well represented at the Global Frackdown event in Dallas on Saturday, October 19, outside the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, which features a fictional account display about the "safety" of hydraulic fracturing. Present from our group were Director Marc McCord, Tim Stanton, Eddie Morgan, Molly Rooke, Dick and Chris Guidi, and Linda Cooke, who took the photo above to document our participation. FracDallas members were about 25% of the total participants, which included members of Dallas MoveOn (event sponsors), Code Pink, Texas Action Coalition for the Environment, Dallas Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment and Downwinders at Risk.
According to a Christian Science Monitor story by guest blogger Joao Peixe on July 8, 2013, "A ban on fracking in a northern region of Spain has crimped Repsol SA's plans to begin drilling for shale gas in the north of Spain. Repsol had planned to begin seismic studies, with a view to drilling, in July, but the Cantabrian fracking ban, which prevent all hydraulic fracturing activities within the region’s borders, has put a hold on plans." This come after France banned all hydraulic fracing in 2012, and is yet another sign that European countries are learning from mistakes made in the U.S. You can read the article by Peixe HERE.
Artwork created by Lmnopi:
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